New York startup Betaworks has just released an update to its Tapestry ‘storytelling’ service, which now enables you to create, modify, share and read short stories entirely within the mobile app.

Tapestry update now enables entirely in-app storytelling


Nowadays people are becoming increasingly at ease with information and communication technologyfrom a very young age, using tablets and other digital devices in the same way as folks used to read magazines. The Tapestry storytelling service from New York startup Betaworks started out as an Internet platform for literary ‘storytellers’. Tapestry offered authors a way of telling short stories digitally and interactivelyinstead of writing lots of pages of text for print or fast modification to e-book format. The company has however realized that, since its launch in 2012, Tapestry has been used not so much by literary authors as by lots of young people wanting to tell their life stories creatively and share them on the social networks. Betaworks, which has already seen over 100,000 of these ‘tap stories’ in Tapestry so far, has now just announced an update to its mobile app, going beyond the read-only functionality which was all that was available up to now on mobile and allowing users for the first time to build stories within the app.

A fully mobile experience

Tapestry attracted a lot of attention in the tech world for advancing a media format that was practically unheard-of: a point-by-point narrative that can only be read in one direction, by clicking forward in a story. The service was very mobile-oriented, with many attention-baiting links available to whisk the reader away at any moment. Now with the update however, users can build and modify their stories, add pics, GIF images and other media without having to leave their smartphones. Tapestry now provides a collection of tools integrated into the platform which are designed to work well on mobile. The site offers four different types of animated stories, each with a different format: ‘The Original Editor’, for example, is the most flexible, complete format; ‘Gifticle’ is the one recommended for telling animated stories; ‘HieroGiphy’ enables you to play with short texts such as tweets, plus GIF images; while ‘TapTXT’ allows you to share conversations such as those carried out in instant messaging. These (usually) creative, fun short stories can then be shared easily on a variety of social networks.

2014 the year of mobile storytelling?

Many experts are predicting that 2014 will be the ‘Year of Storytelling’, to which Jana Trantow, the Tapestry leader within Betaworks, adds that it will be the year of mobilestorytelling. “Tapestry is ready to push digital short storytelling forward into a more thoughtful and thought-out manner of communication. We want to give our young community more credit, more tools, more opportunities to make and share meaningful stories,” explains Ms Trantow.  When Tapestry was first launched, Betaworks founder John Borthwick envisaged that the company might try to monetize the service once the app had achieved a large enough user base. Since the technology is fairly simple and flexible, it could in fact be applied to a variety of formats and genres such as poetry, greetings cards, political messages and business communication. 

By Manon Garnier